The Musicians Who Legally Changed To Their Stage Name
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage
A name is more than just a label. It can convey a sense of identity, personality, and style. For rock stars, who perform in front of millions of fans and influence popular culture, a name can also be a powerful tool to create a memorable image and express their artistic vision.
That’s probably one of the reasons why many rock stars choose to adopt stage names that suit their professional personas rather than sticking with their birth names. Here are some of the musicians who legally used their stage names,
Freddie Mercury was not always the confident and charismatic frontman of Queen. He was born as Farrokh Bulsara and struggled with insecurities. According to his former bandmate, he overcame his insecurities by reinventing himself as the person he wanted to be. Thus, changing his name to Freddie Mercury.
From Joan Marie Larkin, the rock star changed her name to Joan Jett when she was still a teenager after her parents divorced and during that time she wanted to have a name that matched her style.
W. Axl Rose
The lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, W. Axl Rose, has gone through several name changes in his life. He was born as William Bruce Rose Jr., but he adopted the surname of his stepfather, Stephen L. Bailey, when he was young. Eventually, he decided to take on Axl as his first name and added his original middle initial to it.
Rob Zombie changed his name from Robert Bartleh Cummings and made it official in 1996. He was influenced by horror movies and other rock stars.
Alice Cooper is the stage name of Vincent Damon Furnier, a rock musician known for his theatrical and shocking performances. The band chose Alice Cooper because it sounded innocent and contrasted with their dark and edgy image. After the band split up in 1974, Furnier adopted Alice Cooper as his legal name and solo career identity.
Nikki Sixx of Motley Crüe was born as Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna Jr. in 1958. He had a troubled childhood and felt rejected by his parents. In 1978, he joined a band called London and decided to change his name and his life. That’s the time when he legally adopted the name Nikki Sixx and left his past behind.
Before he became Mick Mars, he was Robert Alan Deal, a country music fan who also liked The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Before changing his name, he used the stage name Zorky Charlemagne. When he left his old band, he wanted to change his style. Thus, also changed his name to Micki Mars, which was the name of Whitehorse’s singer.
Paul Stanley, the lead singer, and guitarist of the rock band KISS were born Stanley Bert Eisen in 1952. He faced bullying and discrimination as a child because of his Jewish background and his deformed right ear. He changed his name to Paul Stanley in the early 1970s, inspired by other rock stars like Paul McCartney and Paul Rodgers. He also adopted the alter ego of Starchild, wearing star-shaped makeup on his right eye. He legally changed his name to Paul Stanley in 1974, the same year that KISS released their first album.
One of the most iconic and influential musicians of all time was born as Prince Rogers Nelson in 1958. In 1993, he decided to change his name to a symbol that combined the male and female signs, Prince. He also said that he did this to protest against his record label Warner Bros. which he felt was limiting his artistic freedom.
Interestingly, the frontman of The White Stripes adopted his wife’s surname before forming the band. He kept it even after their divorce in 2000 partly because he had already established himself as a musician with that name.